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10/22/2010
01:49 AM
Charles Babcock
Charles Babcock
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VMware Says Automation Critical For Cloud Applications

VMware's SpringSource unit is evolving the Java framework to offer the firepower required to run apps in public and private clouds. Charles Babcock assesses where they're at.

At SpringOne, it was announced that open source projects have been established to support the use of noSQL systems, such as Redis and the Apache Software Foundation's Cassandra, to address data tasks that bog down traditional relational database systems. Once Spring developers can use the framework to add non-SQL database systems to their available services, they will come closer to being able to provide "extreme scale application management," he said.

"Java developers are among those leading the move to cloud computing. They want to be able to deploy applications in the cloud without disrupting the programming environment in which they're used to working," Johnson said. That's a tall order, given the different nature of the cloud application. In the end, the focus must shift even further toward the remote and flexible operation of the application.

Applications will need a lot more instrumentation built into them that signals how well they're running, what conditions they are encountering, and how well they're serving their end users. The monitoring function will have to readily available, regardless of where the application is running, and that remains a large hurdle even for the framework providers.

We are still at an early stage of learning how to develop applications for the cloud and running them there effectively. VMware had the paramount importance of the application in mind when it acquired SpringSource. It had virtualization expertise, but managing the virtualized application was soon going to require a deeper understanding of how applications were built than it possessed.

Instead of stalling on that point, VMware made what at the time seemed a rather far-fetched acquisition of SpringSource. Johnson, in turn, seems to have adapted to the VMware environment and is seizing on the opportunity to re-orient Spring toward the virtual environment of the cloud. But VMware faces so much competition on this front from more practiced tool makers, notably Microsoft, that the outcome of this effort is by no means a foregone conclusion. One further note: SpringOne was sponsored by, among others, Google, Salesforce.com, and Accenture, all of whom used to be sponsors of JavaOne. This year none of them were JavaOne sponsors. What's going on?

Oracle now owns Java and is suing Google over its Android mobile operating system and is attacking Salesforce.com as an allegedly inadequate source of applications in the cloud. This has a lot more to do with Salesforce as an emerging Oracle competitor than it does with capabilities, pro or con, in the cloud. I can't speak for Accenture, although I recognize it has an extensive managed services and cloud consulting practice. Apparently, it wants to be allied with where it thinks applications are going rather than where the traditional bastion of Java power has been.

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